GM, besides putting finishing touches on its own green car the Volt, is investing in other green car companies through its newly formed General Motors Ventures arm. Its first investment – a minority stake of an undisclosed amount that will be finalized later this year – is being put into Bright Automotive, a company working on the IDEA plug-in hybrid commercial vehicle. The funding will help accelerate Bright’s production of this van.
This new strategic relationship is more than about just dollars though, as Bright will now have access to GM technologies, and advanced engine and transmission systems, for its vehicle. The vehicle itself, according to GM, operates in electric mode for 40 miles before switching to an estimated 36-mpg hybrid mode for 100+ mpg potential based on daily driving behavior. This will be particularly useful in its designated role as a commercial fleet vehicle. It is said as well the IDEA is focused on being light weight, aerodynamic and with a a highly efficient drivetrain.
“Funding early-stage start-up companies is a new way of doing business at GM to accelerate the introduction of innovative technology to support our core automotive business and give us a competitive advantage,” said Jon Lauckner, president of GM Ventures, in a statement. “In this case, our funding of Bright Automotive will accelerate the introduction of advanced propulsion and light-weight technologies in the commercial vehicle market.”